Baptist History Homepage

Providence Baptist Church, Winston
Estill County, Kentucky

Biographical Sketches of Pastors and Missionaries
By Bobby L. Rose & Lorene Barnes Rose

Providence Baptist Church Meetinghouses

      Editor's Note: The bios in this essay are listed in the order in which the men pastored the church. They are listed here alphebetically with the page number following to help in locating them.

     David Douglas Aker (p. 142); Joseph Ambrose (p. 85); Abijah B. Anderson (p. 115); John Spencer Arvin (p. 117); William Bartlett Arvin (p. 96); James Edward Chrisman (p. 144); Andrew J. Daughtery (p. 108); William Randall Drummond, Sr. (p. 146); James Jesse Edwards (p. 89); Thomas Park Edwards (p. 119); Allen Emmett Gibson (p. 124); W. T. Hutton (p. 132); Oliver Perry Jackson (p. 132); Levi P. Johnson (p. 101); Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson (p. 103); Willie B. Kemper (p. 125); Davis H. King (p. 139); James Kinney (p. 145); Turner L. Lawson (p. 109); Donald Wilson McWhorter (p. 145); Douglas F. Miller (p. 141); John H. Newton (p. 98); Napoleon B. Norris (p. 94); Smith Vivion Potts (91); Ernest Reginald Sams (p. 133); James A. Sowder (p. 139); James H. Sparks (p. 141); H. Delmar Standifer (p. 137); William M. Standifer (p. 100); Pleasant Newton Taylor (p. 121); Paul M. Tharp (p. 126); John Thomas Turpin (p. 117); Fred Cecil Tuttle (p. 135); Enoch Wakefield (p. 102); John Ward (p. 87); John I. Wills (p. 111); Elmer Q. Wilson (p. 135); Harvey Dyer Wise (p. 123); William A. M. Wood (p. 122); John C. Wray (p. 99). - Jim Duvall

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     Although most church histories probably do not attempt to give biographical sketches of former pastors, a church never becomes greater than the vision of her members and the leadership provided by her pastors. Therefore, the following biographical sketches are included. With but few exceptions, the following information is not recorded elsewhere and possibly would soon be lost forever if not recorded somewhere. With the possible exceptions of Joseph Ambrose, John Ward, Smith V. Potts, and Enoch Wakefield, the following servants of God all pastored Providence Baptist Church. Joseph Ambrose and John Ward probably assisted in gathering the church; Smith V. Potts preached at Providence on occasions, was instrumental in organizing Irvine Association, and served as missionary for many years in both Irvine and Boone's Creek Associations; and Enoch Wakefield was pastor of Clear Creek Church, preached at Providence on occasions, and had two daughters, Margaret Wakefield Kerby and Lucy Wakefield Kerby, who were members of Providence Baptist Church.

     Elder Joseph Ambrose was born in Bedford County, Virginia, March 30, 1798. In about the year 1808, his parents moved to Pulaski County, Kentucky, and four years later moved to Clay County, Kentucky.

     Much of the following information was furnished by Dr. Luther M. Ambrose, Berea, Kentucky. He received some of the information from Bessie Ambrose Edens, Corsicanna, Texas, in 1944. She had a copy of the "History of Ten Mile Baptist Church, 1804-1904" by Rev. Lafayette Johnson.

      Rev. Johnson served as pastor of Ten Mile Church in Gallatin County, Kentucky, four different times for a total of seventeen years. He was elected moderator of Ten Mile Baptist Association in September 1868 and served in that position until his death, February 1, 1908. After he completed his last pastorate at Ten Mile Church in 1905, he was succeeded by Rev. William S. Shearer 1906-1907. Brother W. S. Shearer was an older brother of Walker L. Shearer who was ordained by Allensville Church, Clark County, Kentucky, in 1901 at the request of Providence Baptist Church, Estill County, and probably served as pastor for a a few months. Rev. W. L. Shearer was the father-in-law of Dr. A. B. Colvin, Director of Direct Missions Department, Kentucky Baptist Convention; W. L. Shearer was pastor of

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Grace Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky, for many years. A copy of Rev. Johnson's history of Ten Mile Church, reprinted in 1976, has been received from the present pastor, Rev. Edwin Kirkpatrick.

     Joseph Ambrose was baptized at Elk Lick Church in 1820 by Elijah Gilbert in what is now Owsley County, Kentucky. Elder Ambrose was ordained into the gospel ministry in 1827 by David Chenault and Thomas B. White. Elder David Chenault was from Madison County and served as pastor of Union City Church, Madison County, in 1820. Elder Thomas B. White was pastor of Mt. Olive Church, South Fork Association, in 1856; he and Joseph Ambrose were two of the messengers from South Fork Association to Boone's Creek Association in 1855. Joseph Ambrose was pastor of Elk Lick Church, a position he filled for seventeen years. He was also pastor of Sexton's Creek and Red Bird Churches.

     Later, Joseph Ambrose moved to Estill County where he continued with unabated zeal and success. It is reported he lived near the mouth of Station Camp Creek; he is listed in the 1850 census of Estill County. He gathered the following churches to which he ministered until they could be supplied with pastors: Woodward's Creek, White Oak, Union, and Clear Creek Churches in Estill County; Mt. Gilead, Clover Bottom, and White Springs Churches in what is now Jackson County; and Drowning Creek and Red Lick Churches in Madison County. Perhaps some of these churches were reorganized by Elder Ambrose instead of being gathered and constituted by him. He also served a number of other churches as pastor, including Union City Church, Madison County, from September 1846 until 1855.

     Elder Ambrose was the principal leader in organizing South Fork Kentucky River Association in 1841. He was the most effective preacher in the Association and served as moderator until 1855 when he moved to Gallatin County, Kentucky. John Ward was also active in the Association and later became a leader and missionary in Irvine Association. Providence Church was a member of South Fork, Kentucky River Association in 1856. After 1855 the Association began to decline rapidly, and it was formally dissolved in September 1862.

     After arriving in Gallatin County, Joseph Ambrose held meetings with Ten Mile Church and at a school house located about four miles to the east. He soon succeeded in gathering Concord Church, constituted in August 1856, to which he ministered with a good degree of success for a number of years. In 1857 Elder Ambrose was injured by the overturning of a cart and so crippled that he was compelled to ride a horse side saddle. He still continued to preach and often attended four churches until age compelled him to desist. Joseph Ambrose was moderator of Ten Mile Association in 1858; he preached the introductory sermon in 1857, 1861, 1875, 1877, and 1879.

     Joseph Ambrose died March 16, 1881, after having predicted his death five days previously, and was buried in the Concord Cemetery, Gallatin County, Kentucky, near the

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house where he had preached so long and accomplished untold good. His tombstone has the following epitaph inscribed:

Behold You Passer By
As You Are Now, So Once Was I
As I Am Now, So You Must Be
Prepare For Death And Follow Me

     Elder Joseph Ambrose was born in Bedford County, Virginia, near Roanoke and Lynchburg. He was brought by his parents to Pulaski, County, Kentucky, (some accounts say they first came to Adair County), and then to Clay County, Kentucky. Thus began a ministry that covered a mission field of Eastern and East Central Kentucky. He organized South Fork Kentucky River Association and gathered an unknown number of churches. Then he moved to Gallatin County in Northern Kentucky and completed his ministry. Surely, Joseph Ambrose was a man who lived his life to prepare for death or, to be more accurate, he lived his life to prepare for eternity.


     Although there is no direct proof that John Ward assisted in the organization and constitution of Providence Baptist Church, he was recognized as having done so fifty-five years ago in Conkwright's History. It is generally accepted that Brother Ward along with Joseph Ambrose, at least had some part in assisting the gathering of the church.

     The following information was obtained from Mrs. James T. Sasser, Richmond, Kentucky, who on December 9, 1973, copied the following from a handwritten document in the possession of Mrs. Martha Ratcliff, Erlanger, Kentucky. Mrs. Sasser is a great granddaughter of John Ward.

Rev. John Ward was born February 19, 1809, at Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was taken to North Carolina by his mother and stepfather when a child, brought up to manhood in Buncomb County, North Carolina, and married Camilla McHone, January 27, 1827. He came to the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Clay County, Kentucky, the second Saturday in May 1833. He was one of the charter members. Brought up without an education, however, after joining the church, he managed to obtain book knowledge sufficient to read. He was an ordained minister of the Gospel about fifty years, having been a licentate for about three years prior to his ordination.

He met with great success as a minister. He was poor, suffered a great many privations, labored hard, and often worked at night in clearing up his farm. He possessed a wonderful constitution, often walking from twelve to fifteen miles to meet appointments and fill his pastorates. He labored all over Eastern Kentucky

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and parts of Tennessee, and multitudes were converted by his ministry. He baptized a great many, was in the organization of twenty-one churches, assisted in the ordination of thirteen ministers, was an evangelist for the District and General Association for five years, and . served as moderator of the Irvine Association for many years.

It is quite an impossibility to give anything like a full history of his labors, his house having been burned by incendiaries the night of February 7, 1891, containing all his papers and records. But taking under consideration all the circumstances attending his life, few men, if any, excelled him in usefullness in the Gospel ministry.

During his last illness, he expressed a desire, if he recovered, to visit all the churches close to him. He spoke of Heaven and said he was ready at any time, only waiting the Lord's call. The call came January 6, 1893, at 3:00 p.m.. He went to join his companion and seven children who had gone before him, leaving three sons, two daughters, and a host of friends to morn.

Thus passed away our old father of the Gospel. In life he was a good husbands a loving father, a good neighbor, a good citizen, a devout Christian, a Baptist minister.

Done by order of the Baptist Church of Christ at Mt. Gilead through the undersigned committee.

(Signed) H. S. Ponder, James B. Spence
G. W. Johnson, John H. Ward
John S. Ward, George L. Davis, (Sec.)
     The above information is also recorded in a slightly different form in the 1893 Irvine Association minutes. John Ward served as moderator of Irvine Association in 1867, Assistant Moderator in 1872, and Moderator in 1877, 1889, 1890, 1891, and 1892. The death of Brother Ward's wife is recorded in the 1891 minutes of Irvine Association as follows:
Camilla Ward was born in Stokes County, Virginia, June 3, 1809. Her maiden name was McHone and she married Rev. John Ward on the 27th day of January, 1827, in Buncomb County, North Carolina. She joined the Baptist Church, Saturday, July 3, 1833, in Kentucky, and died December 10, 1890, age 81 years, six months and seven days. She leaves her husband, Rev. John Ward, who is in his 83rd year, and five children to morn her loss and has gone to join seven others on the Other Shore. What we consider our loss is her eternal gain.
John Ward

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     Brother and Sister Ward were buried in the cemetery at Mt. Gilead Church, Jackson County, Kentucky.

     Even though there is some question whether Elder J. J. Edwards assisted in gathering Providence Church, he, nevertheless, was a most remarkable person and had a greater influence upon Providence Baptist Church than any other pastor. To give some idea just how remarkable he was, the following information is given.

     James Jesse Edwards was born in Lee County, Virginia, December 30, 1824. He was the eldest of eleven children of Dr. George Grant and Mary Woodward Edwards. At seventeen he united with the Methodist, but after further consideration of the divine teaching, he joined the Baptist church at Thompson's Settlement in his native county in October 1842. In February 1850, he married Amy Parsons, and on the second Saturday in June of the same year, he was ordained to the ministry at New Hope Baptist Church in Lee County, Virginia, by Jonathan Bishop and John Gilbert.

     Dr. Luther M. Ambrose related the following story told by his father, Barton Potter Ambrose (1845-1934). At the age of ten, he went with his father, Meridith Meeks Ambrose (1805-1880), who was a younger brother of Elder Joseph Ambrose, to Red Bird Church in Clay County, Kentucky, and heard Elder John Gilbert preach when he was over 100 years old. It is thought that this John Gilbert was the same one who assisted in the ordination of J. J. Edwards five years earlier in 1850 in Lee County, Virginia.

     After preaching a few years almost, if not altogether, gratuitously among the associates of his youth, J. J. Edward moved to Clay County, Kentucky, where he spent a few years in the same manner. It is thought that Elder Edwards did ministerial work in Clay County several years before moving there. From Clay County, he moved to Estill County about 1858 where he remained the rest of his life. His habit was to preach three or four days each week and labor the remainder of the time on his farm located on what was known as Edwards Lane. That was the road that went up Picknick Hill past the water storage tank to Trotting Ridge.

     In 1862 Elder James Jesse Edwards was appointed missionary by Irvine Association, and with the aid of the General Association of Kentucky, he was kept on the field seventeen years. J. J. Edwards' success in winning souls to Christ soon began to attract attention beyond Irvine Association in which his labors were principally performed. The annual report in the General Association minutes for 1864 has this to say concerning J. J. Edwards:

This faithful and laborious servant of Christ has a record of success during the last fifteen years that very few ministers of the Gospel can equal, having preached 3,270 sermons and made 1,000 exhortations, and

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received into the church 2,270 persons.
     In speaking of Brother Edwards in 1878, the General Association has this to say:
He has traveled more miles (mostly on foot and horseback), preached more sermons, and baptized a greater number than any other missionary of the General Association of Kentucky.
     In 1880 J. J. Edwards' memoranda shows that he had baptized 5,673 persons and gathered about thirty-five churches. Between 1865 and 1892, J. J. Edwards served as pastor of Providence Baptist Church for more than twenty years, and he may have served as pastor 1894-1897. That is far longer than any other pastor has ever served.

     As previously stated, Elder J. J. Edwards was called as missionary to the Irvine Association in 1862 and served seventeen years. During that time, he was pastor of Providence from May 1865 until April 1866 and from April 1869 until December 1880. It was during this period that the wooden church building was built at the present church site and the name was changed from Newman to Providence. Brother Edwards served as moderator of Irvine Association in 1876, 1881, and 1882.

     It is unknown how many churches J. J. Edwards pastored after ending his tenure as Irvine Association Missionary, but he served as pastor of Providence from January 1882 to March 1884 and again from September 1885 through 1886. He continued to serve as pastor when Providence needed one, and he served as moderator at the ordination service of Brother J. S. Arvin in 1893. Although no (records are available, he may have been pastor from 1894 through 1897.

     After severing ties with Irvine Association as missionary, J. J. Edwards organized Powell's Valley Church located near Clay City, Powell County, Kentucky. The church was constituted in 1882 and joined Boone's Creek Association the next year. The congregation built a house of worship without seeking aid from any other church, and when the house was dedicated on May 30, 1886, there was no debt against it. Elder Edwards served the- church eight years, resigning in 1890.

     Powell's Valley is the last church known to have been pastored on a regular basis by J. J. Edwards. However, he continued to be listed as an ordained minister in the minutes of Irvine Association through 1897. As stated above, he may have pastored Providence 1894-1897. J. J. Edwards is

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listed as an ordained minister in Landmark Association minutes for the years 1898-1901 and a special collection was taken up for him after the Committee on Ministers' Aid Society made their annual report. The following is noted in the 1899 minutes of the Association:
. . . Following this report a collection was taken up for Elder James Edwards and Elder Jacob Carmack in aid of their support, to the amount of $10.30.
     Jacob Carmack died April 14, 1900, and was buried in Clay Hill Cemetery, Madison County, Kentucky. James Jesse Edwards died February 10, 1904, at Edwards Lane, Estill County, Kentucky. He was buried in the cemetery at Providence Baptist Church, Winston, Kentucky a few feet from the building he was instrumental in building twenty-six years earlier and where he had preached longer than anywhere else.

     Elder Smith Vivion Potts was born August 22, 1114, and died March 27, 1893. He was the eldest of seven children of Thomas Potts and Martha (Marrietta) Vivion who were united in marriage in Clark County, Kentucky, June 21, 1813. Martha Vivion's father was Thacker Smith Vivion.

     Smith V. Potts married Elizabeth Hunt June 17, 1839. The 1860 Estill County census lists Smith V. Potts as a resident and his occupation as a miller. His wife, Elizabeth, and three children: Edward, Mary E., and Thomas I. are listed as members of the household.

     The first known about Elder Potts' ministry is found in S. J. Conkwright's History of the Churches of Boone's Creek Baptist Association of Kentucky. He was called as pastor of Mt. Olive Church in Clark County about 1845. Under Salem Baptist Church of Estill County, it is stated that Smith V. Potts came as a missionary from Boone's Creek Association about the year 1846 and held a series of meetings "which resulted in accomplishing an agreement of the remaining members to go into the organization of the United Baptist Church at Salem." Apparently some of the members of Primitive Baptist persuasion had left the church. Elder Potts served Salem as pastor for about four years, during which time he was assisted by Elder Edward Darnaby.

     May 24, 1848, Smith V. Potts and Thornton I. Wills were called as pastors of Ephesus Church in Clark County where they served until April 1851. They were called again as pastors in September 1851; T. I. Wills resigned in March 1853, but S. V. Potts remained to serve the church until 1855.

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     In October 1855, Smith V, Potts was called as pastor of Union City Church in Madison County to succeed Elder Joseph Ambrose who had resigned after serving the church since September 1846. Brother Potts served the church until December 1858.

     After resigning as pastor of Union City Church, Elder Potts apparently became pastor of the Irvine Church where he remained until about 1864. S. V. Potts was called as pastor of the Beattyville Church July 15, 1861, where he served until 1862; at that time the church was located in Owsley County. In 1863 he was again called as pastor, but after serving for one year, Smith V. Potts was excused from the pastoral care of the church "owing to the condition of affairs," presumably the Civil War.

     On the third Saturday of October 1859, Irvine Association was constituted at the Drowning Creek meeting house (Panola) in Madison County with Providence, Woodward's Creek, Irvine, Cow Creek, Clear Creek, Salem and Drowning Creek Churches present. Elder Smith V. Potts was chosen moderator and Elder James Richardson was chosen clerk; they were the only pastors present in the organization of the Association. At the 1860 session, a board was appointed to be located in Irvine, and S. V. Potts was chosen missionary to labor in the territory of the Association. Elder Potts apparently served as missionary until 1864 when he was excused from the pastoral care of the Beattyville Church.

     In 1865 Elder Pott's address was Crab Orchard, Lincoln County, Kentucky, and he was listed in the Irvine Association minutes as conducting monthly meetings at Bethlehem Church in Madison County and Flat Lick Church. Bethlehem was in Irvine Association and Flat Lick is presumed to have been in Tates Creek Association. Between 1865 and 1870, it is believed S. V. Potts pastored several churches in Tates Creek Association, but, unfortunately, minutes of the Association are unavailable. S. V. Pott's address is listed in Irvine Association minutes as Speedwell, Madison County, in 1867, 1870, and 1871; his address is listed as Kingston, Madison County, in 1869 and 1872.

     Although some of the minutes of Irvine Association for the early years are not available, Smith V. Potts was moderator of the Association at least eight years; 1859, 1860, 1863, 1865, 1869, 1870,1871 and 1872. He attended the Association as messenger from Boone's Creek Association in 1875 and 1876. The 1875 session was held at Newman Church, Winston, Kentucky on Thursday before the 4th Saturday 1875 and the two days following. S. V. Potts offered a resolution "requesting each member of the served churches composing the Association to give twenty-five cents to sustain our missionaries this year."

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     In October 1871, Elder S. V. Potts, assisted by Elder Elias H. Brookshire, held a series of meetings twelve miles southeast of Winchester, Kentucky, on the waters of Upper Howard's Creek which led to the constitution of Corinth Baptist Church near Trapp, Kentucky, and where Boone's Creek Camp is now located. Conkwright's History has the following to say concerning the results:
The results . . . were ten by experience and baptise, who, together with five others, signed a church covenant, agreeing to constitute a church on the truth of the Gospel as laid down in the Old and New Testament. By request, a council was called in December, 1871, and after singing and prayer, they entered into the organization by selecting Brother John N. Conkwright , moderator and Brother Frank S. Allen clerk of the meeting. The charge to the church was delivered by Elder N. B. Johnson, prayer by Elder S. V. Potts . . . Benjamin C. Fox was elected clerk, and Jesse Powell and James A. Fox trustees, who purchased an interest in a two story building owned by the Masonic Lodge . . . the church using the lower room and the Lodge the upper room.
     Brother Potts was called as the first pastor of Corinth Church and served until 1877. He was called as pastor of Macedonia Church, Clark County in 1874 and served the church eighteen months.

     Between 1872 and 1875, S. V. Potts is credited with constituting nine churches, all of which had ceased to exist by 1879. With one exception, all were located in the poorer sections of Powell and Montgomery Counties. The following churches and dates of constitution are give: Zion, 1872; Slate Valley, 1873; Snow Creek, 1874; New Salem, 1874; Friendship, 1874; Mt. Zion, 1874; North Fork or Red River, 1875; Spruce, 1875; Laurel Springs of Menifee County, 1875. Conkwright's History has the following to say about the above nine churches:

These churches all united with Boone's Creek Association in the year of their constitution. Two of them never reported again, some reported for two or three years, and none of them after 1879. Judging from the records of the Association, it seems to have been enthausiam with lack of judgment, as is sometimes the case, which led to the constitution of these churches.
     Smith V. Potts was instrumental in gathering Jeffersonville Church in Montgomery County, Kentucky, in 1876. The church united with Boone's Creek Association in the same year it was constituted, reporting a membership of ninety-seven. Brother Potts apparently served as pastor of the
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church until 1880. The Church reported to Boone's Creek Association the last time in 1889 and is presumed to have ceased to exist around that time. Perhaps it is encouraging to note, however, that there is presently a Jeffersonville Church in Montgomery County which was organized in 1959 and is a member of Boone's Creek Association. The church reported a membership of 145 in 1976.

     In October 1889, the pastor of Macedonia Church, Rev. Perry Hammons, held a series of meetings in which he was assisted by Rev. S. V. Potts. That is the last information we have of Brother Pott's ministry. At that time he was seventy-five years old.

     Although Smith V. Potts was never pastor of Providence, he preached at the church on different occasions. On June 2nd Saturday 1867, the church minutes record that Brother Potts preached to the congregation and then served as moderator of the business meeting. On May 3rd Saturday 1871, the same is recorded.

     Elder Smith V. Potts died March 27, 1893, and both he and his wife, Elizabeth Hunt Potts, are buried in the Winchester Cemetery, Winchester, Kentucky.


     Not a great deal is known concerning the ministry of Elder N. B. Norris. In September 1858 Union City Church called for the ordination to the ministry of Brother N. B. Norris. The presbytery consisted of Elder Thornton I. Wills, who died September 23, 1872, in Clark County; Elder John Ward, who died January 6, 1893, and was buried in the cemetery at Mt. Gilead Church, Jackson County; Elder George W. Broaddus, who died August 31, 1871, and was buried in the cemetery at Viney Fork Church, Madison County; and Elder Smith V. Potts, who had succeeded Joseph Ambrose as pastor of Union City Church and who died March 27, 1893, and was buried in the Winchester Cemetery, Clark County.

     N. B. Norris was pastor of Salem Baptist Church for three years from about 1858 through 1861. He is listed as pastor of Salem in the 1859 Boone's Creek Association minutes. The 1860 Madison County Census lists Napoleon B. Norris as being 30 years old, living in the Elliston Precinct, and being a farmer by occupation.

     Records in the Estill County Court Clerk's office record at least two marriages performed by N. B. Norris: William R. Winkier to Elizabeth Bowman, August 18, 1863; and George W. Gabbard to Susan Jane Sparks, January 15, 1864.

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     Elder N. B. Norris was a messenger from Newman Church to Irvine Association for the years 1866, 1867 and 1868. October the 4th Saturday, 1866, N. B. Norris led in prayer and served as moderator of the Church's business meeting. His address is listed in the 1867 Irvine Association minutes as Winston, Kentucky. Minutes are not available for 1866 and 1868. The following is taken from the Newman Church minutes:


      . . . 3rd. - On motion, agreed that we send six delegates to the Association, viz: James Stacy, N. B. Norris, Thomas Bowman, Gideon Taylor, Martin Bowman and Jefferson Martin.
Jeff Martin, Clk. J. J. Edwards, Mod.

      . . . 3rd. - We agree to send five delegates to the Irvine Association to be held at New Hope, Owsley County, Kentucky, on Friday before the 4th Saturday in September, 1867, to wit: Elder N. B. Norris, Thomas Bowman, James M. Clowers, Garnet Wilson, Thomas Taylor, Martin Turpin and Sidney Dozier . . .
E. Kerby, Clk. J. H. Newton, Mod.

      . . . 4th - We agree to send five delegates to the Irvine Association to be held with the church at Drowning Creek on Friday before the 4th Saturday in September, 1868, to wit: N.B. Norris, James Stacy . . . So we adjourn.
E. Kerby, Clk. J. H. Newton, Mod.

     We the Baptist Church of Christ at Newman met and after prayer and sermon by Bro. N. B. Norris from John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life," we proceeded to business . . .
Elisha Kerby, Clk. J. J. Edwards, Mod.

     Elder N. B. Norris probably lived at Winston at least for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868 and was a member of Newman Baptist Church. It would seem likely that he assisted J. J. Edwards and John H. Newton as pastor during those years.

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     In 1880 N. B. Norris was messenger to Boone's Creek Association from Union City Church and he was appointed on the Foreign Missions Committee. Also, in 1880 he was a messenger from Boone's Creek Association to Irvine Association held at the Pilot Knob Church, Madison County, Kentucky. N. B. Norris is listed as an ordained minister in Irvine "Association minutes 1885 through 1890; his address was McKee, Jackson County, Kentucky. In 1886-1887 he was a messenger from Birch Lick Church, Jackson County; in 1887 he was appointed on the Sunday Schools and State Missions Committees. In 1888 Elder Norris was appointed to preach during the annual meeting and he was appointed on the Orphan's Home Committee in 1889. In 1890 he was appointed on the District and State Missions Committee and listed as a messenger from the Kerby Knob Church, which had been organized by Elder E. J. Baker in 1887. Nothing further is listed in Irvine Association minutes concerning Elder N. B. Norris; he was sixty years old in 1890.

     Elder William Bartlett Arvin was born in Estill County, Kentucky, October 20, 1841, and died at Campbellsville, Kentucky, April 4, 1890, at the age of forty-eight. He was baptized into the fellowship of Clear Creek Church, Estill County, Kentucky, by Elder James Jesse Edwards in January 1859. On March 18, 1859, he married Jariah (Maria) Landreth and they had eight children, six of whom were living at his death.

     On the back of the marriage bond of William B. Arvin, dated March 14, 1859, and recorded in the Estill County Clerks Office, the following statement is written:

Rev. Jas. J. Edwards being sworn states that the witness named Jariah Landreth is an orphan girl under the age of 21 years and was given to him by her grandfather, the nearest of kin alive, and that he does not know whether he is living now. He was in Virginia the last he heard of him, that he considers her as one of his own children.
M. H. Pigg, Clk. Estill County
     William B. Arvin was licensed to preach by Mt. Zion Church in Estill County in 1862 and in 1863 he was called to the pastoral care of the Mt. Zion Church and was ordained in June of that year. Brother Arvin was a messenger from Mt.
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Zion Church to Irvine Association in 1863 and, after the corresponding letter was read and approved, he was one of the brethren chosen to bear the letter to the Tates Creek, Boone's Creek, and Elkhorn Associations at their annual meetings to be held in 1864. In 1865 he is listed as bearing correspondence from Boone's Creek Association and being seated as a delegate representing that Association. These are the only entries concerning W. B. Arvin recorded in Irvine Association minutes.

     W. B. Arvin was called as pastor of Salem Church in Estill County in 1863, and he served eighteen months. In August 1864, there was a great revival which resulted in forty additions to the church. The 1864 Boone's Creek Association minutes has the following recorded:

On motion a contribution was taken up from the congregation for the love and affection we feel for Bro. W. B. Arvin as a minister of Jesus Christ. The amount of $75.00 was given.
     Elder W. B. Arvin was called as pastor of Newman Baptist Church in Estill County November the 4th Saturday 1866 but because of ill health he only served through April 1867. From 1868 through 1874, William B. Arvin served churches in Boone's Creek Association; however, he also served as pastor of Freedom Church in Tates Creek Association in 1869. He was pastor of Providence Church, Clark County, from February 1868 through April 1874; he was pastor of Ephesus Church, Clark County, from December 1868 through March 1871; he served Kiddville Church in Clark County from June 1870 through January 1871; and he served as pastor of Mt. Olive Church in Clark County 1872-1874. The 1873 minutes of the General Association lists the address of W. B. Arvin as Winchester, Kentucky; Brother Arvin was pastor of Bethlehem Church in South District Association from 1874-1877 with his address listed as East Texas, Kentucky; his address was listed as Texas, Washington County, Kentucky, 1878-1879.

     During the six year period, 1868-1874, while W. B. Arvin was pastor of Providence Church, Clark County, the location of the church was moved approximately one mile south of the stone meeting house, which was erected sometime prior to 1793, and a frame house was erected on a two acre lot situated on the Winchester and Boonesborough Turnpike three miles north of Boonesborough. The new building was dedicated on the fourth Sunday in August 1870.

     W. B. Arvin was pastor at Campbellsville for ten years, 1880 until his death. He was moderator of Russell Creek Association for several years and was listed as a messenger from Campbellsville Church to the General Association in 1883

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and 1887. His obituary notice in the 1890 minutes of the General Association had the following to say concerning Brother Arvin:
. . . His early educational advantages were limited but he possessed the gifts of public speaking and singing which gave promise of his usefulness in the ministry. He had good understanding, was studious, and a lover of the public gatherings of his brethren and thus was learning and growing up to the close of life.

He had been pastor at Campbellsville ten years when called above and his labors have been blessed. Besides this he labored in many places as an evangelist with much success. He was an earnest, pious minister, whose arduous labors perhaps cut short his days on earth. He was a brother of fine spirit, wide usefulness, and one whose presence will be missed in our annual gatherings. He died in peaceful triumph after a lingering illness and was widely mourned throughout a community that had learned his worth.

     Elder William S. Arvin had two sons who were Baptist ministers. John Spencer Arvin and Lewis Butler Arvin. John Spencer Arvin was ordained by Providence Church in August 1893 and served as pastor, probably for one year.

     W. B. Arvin is buried in Brookshire Cemetery, Campbellsville, Kentucky.


     Elder John H. Newton was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, March 9, 1827. He was the eldest of six children born to Samuel and Kittarah Newton. His mother was a pious Methodist woman, but he was converted under the ministry of Nelson Alspaugh and united with the Baptist Church at Scaffold Cane in Rockcastle County in 1858. He was ordained to the ministry in 1859.

     John H. Newton spent much of his time preaching in the mountains, often laboring with N. B. Johnson. He was never married; and being of a very cheerful temperament, some of his brethren allegedly thought he indulged too much in levity. But the Lord used him to good account. John H. Newton was killed by the explosion of a steam boiler April 14, 1878, at the age of fifty-one.

     Elder Newton served as pastor of Providence Church from July 1867 to April 1869. The church minutes record he served as moderator of the church business meetings during that time. However, Brother Newton's name never appears in the minutes of Irvine Association. That seems unusual since most of the

[p. 99]
church's pastors during that period were very active in the Association's work. The name of John H. Newton does appear in the minutes of Tates Creek Association. The Association met at Stanford Baptist Church, Lincoln County, August 31 through September 2, 1869. Messengers listed from Scaffold Cane Church were Elder John H. Newton, T. C. Viers, James Croucher, and William Phillips. Tates Creek Association met with Viney Fork Church, Madison County, Kentucky, August 29-30, 1871, with John H. Newton listed as a messenger from Scaffold Cane Church. And in 1873, "Elder J. H. Newton from Irvine Association spoke on Foreign Missions."

     The following information concerning Elder John C. Wray is found in Conkwright's History. In June 1872 J. C. Wray was called as pastor of Kiddville Church in Clark County where he served only a short time. He served as pastor of Salem Church in Estill County in 1873. More information is given concerning Brother Wray under the Union City Church in Madison County. J. J. Edwards had been pastor of Union City Church from July 1863 through December 1869 and had been called as pastor again in February 1871 and resigned after one year. J. C. Wray was called as pastor in June 1872 and served until October 1878.
In June, 1872, Elder John C. Wray was called as pastor and served faithfully for six years, during which time he was absent from only one meeting. During his pastorate there appears irhe first mention in the records of any missionary activities, when, in February, 1873, a committee was appointed to solicit funds for missionary work in Boone's Creek Association.
     The first mention of J. C. Wray in the church minutes of Newman Church is at the July 3rd Saturday 1873 meeting where he led in prayer, preached the sermon, and served as moderator of the meeting. At the August 3rd Saturday 1873 meeting, Brother Wray led in prayer and preached the sermon but J. J. Edwards was moderator of the meeting.

     Minutes for the December 3rd Saturday 1874, meeting of the Baptist Church of Christ at Newman's state: "On motion we agreed to call a pastor to preach the year 1875; whereupon, Bro. J. J. Edwards was called to preach ha'lf of the time and Bro. Wray the other half." At the May 3rd Saturday 1875 meeting, one of the brethren reported to the church that he had used profane language against another brother, "for which he was sorry and asked the church to forgive him and after interrogation by Bro. Wray the church restored him

[p. 100]
to fellowship." At the November 3rd Saturday 1875 meeting, J. J. Edwards was moderator but Bro. Wray led in prayer and preached the sermon before the business meeting.

     Elder J. C. Wray is listed in Irvine Association minutes as a messenger from Boone's Creek Association in 1879, which was the only year his name appears in Irvine Association minutes. It is not known whether he was half time pastor for the Newman Church just for the year 1875 or whether he was also part time pastor for the years 1873-1874. It would seem probable, however, that he was part time pastor during all three years, 1873-1875.

     The period, 1872-1879 is all that is known about J. C. Wray, but perhaps he served in Tates Creek or other assoeiations.


     The first known of William Standifer is when his name appears in Irvine Association minutes in 1863. "A correspondence was tendered by Brother William Standifer, from Goose Creek Association, but we refused under present circumstances'." No further explanation is given.

     William M. Standifer is listed as messenger from Providence Church to Irvine Association 1875-1881 and 1883-1884. Elder Standifer's address is listed as Clover Bottom, Jackson County, Kentucky, 1875-1884; his address is listed as Speedwell, Madison County, Kentucky, 1885-1897. Bro. Standifer is listed as a messenger from Bethlehem Church, Madison County, 1885, 1887, 1889-1890, and 1893 which apparently was the last year he attended Irvine Association although his name continued to be listed as an ordained minister in the Association through 1897 when Landmark Association was constituted and the Madison County Churches in Irvine Association became members of that Association.

     Even though William Standifer was a messenger from Providence from 1875-1884 to Irvine Association, with the exception of 1882, his name never appears in the church minutes as moderator of a business meeting; but he must have been one of the pastors during part or all of this time, and he must have assisted in the building of the new Providence Baptist Church building in 1878.

     In 1878 Providence is listed as having three Saturday meetings each month. The same is listed for 1882-1886. In 1887-1888 Providence is listed as having four Saturday meetings each month. The number of meetings per month are not listed for succeeding years.

     Little else is known concerning Brother Standifer's ministry. He was elected assistant moderator of Irvine Association in 1883.

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     The December 3rd Saturday 1875 minutes of the Baptist Church of Christ at Newman's states that after prayer and a sermon by Levi Johnson, "We proceeded to business." J. J. Edwards is listed as moderator of the meeting. February 3rd Saturday 1876 meeting has the following recorded: "We agree to call a pastor and by private ballot Bro. J. J. Edwards was chosen and L. P. Johnson assistant." The February 3rd Saturday 1880 has the following recorded:
. . . We agree to let Chinquepin Rough have one fourth of Bro. L. P. Johnson's time in the ministry of her church. . .
Elisha Kerby, Clk. J. J. Edwards, Mod.
     Elder Levi P. Johnson is listed as a messenger from Providence Church to Irvine Association 1876-1878. In 1876 he wrote the corresponding letter for the Association and agreed to be one of the brethren to bear it to Tates Creek, North Concord, Laurel River, and Booneville Associations; he served on the Sunday School Committee. In 1878 Brother Johnson was selected to preach the next annual sermon, was appointed on the religious periodicals committee, and agreed to bear the corresponding letter to Tates Creek and Booneville Associations. His address was listed as Speedwell, Kentucky.

     Apparently, L. P. Johnson was involved in building the new church building at Providence in 1878. The only other year Bro. Johnson is listed in Irvine Association minutes is in 1898 when he was a messenger from Chinquepin Rough Church, Jackson County, Kentucky. He was elected assistant moderator, selected as alternate to preach the next annual sermon, and appointed as chairman of the foreign and home missions committee. He was appointed to attend the Southern Baptist Convention. His address was listed as Annville, Jackson County, Kentucky.

     The following obituary of Levi P. Johnson, written by A. H. Williams, clerk for the 1899 session of Irvine Association, is recorded in the minutes of the Association:

Since our last association, another beloved watchman has fallen; Elder L. P. Johnson is no more. He died at his home in Jackson County, Kentucky, December 18, 1898. He was a man of fervent piety, and he was prompt in the discharge of every religious duty. He was a zealous missionary and contributed to all benevolent objects of the denomination. He was a good minister of

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Jesus Christ. His preaching was plain, forcible, and instructive. He was taken from us at a time when he could least be spared. It can be truly said of him that he fell at his post with all armour on, therefore
Resolved, That we deeply deplore his loss and assure his churches, family, and friends, that they share our strongest sympathies in the loss of a faithful pastor, husband, father and neighbor.
A. H. Williams
     The 1899 minutes of the General Association of Kentucky Baptist has the following notice of Bro. Johnson's death:
Elder Levi P. Johnson was a very useful minister, and evangelist who labored mostly in the Irvine Association. He died in Jackson County sometime during the year. He was about sixty years old.
     Although L. P. Johnson's attendance and active participation in the annual meetings of Irvine Association was limited, it is apparent he was recognized as a very capable minister from the active role he assumed during the years he attended. It would appear Elder Johnson was known for carrying on a very active ministry within the bounds of Irvine Association.

     Elder Enoch Wakefield was a well known Baptist evangelist who preached in Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, New York, and other states. He and his family are listed as residents of Estill County in the 1850 and 1860 census. In 1850 Enoch Wakefield was listed as being 43 years old and a farmer; his wife, Anjaline, was listed as being 41 years old. Their state of birth is listed as New York. Their children James M. (14 years old), Margaret A. (12 years old), and Lucy J. (10 years old), are listed as being born in Ohio.

     Enoch Wakefield was probably never pastor of Providence Baptist Church, but he did preach there. He was pastor of Clear Creek Church in 1856. The following is taken from the church minutes:

We the Baptist Church of Christ at Newman met, were led in prayer by Bro. J. H. Newton, and heard a sermon by Bro. Enoch Wakefield from Galatians the 5th Chapter and llth Verse, "And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcism, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased . . ."
John Gideon Taylor, Clk. protem John H. Newton, Mod.

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We the Baptist Church of Christ at Newman met and after prayer by Bro. Enoch Wakefield proceeded to business. . .
Elisha Kerby, Clerk J. J. Edwards, Mod.

     The 1877 obituary section of the General Association minutes has the following recorded concerning Elder Wakefield:

Elder Enoch Wakefield was born in the state of New York and when he died about sixty-nine years of age. He came to Kentucky when a young man and taught school in Madison County for a number of years. He united with the Baptist Church about the year 1845 and a few years after entered the ministry. He spent most of his ministerial life evangelizing, and especially the later part of it, in Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and some in New York. He died in Georgia, in February of last, was brought to Kentucky and buried in Frankfort. He died in the triumph of faith and has left a good record behind him.
     It is unknown why Enoch Wakefield was buried in Frankfort. His daughter, Margaret, married Robert Kerby and his daughter, Lucy, married Francis Marion Kerby, both of whom were brothers of Elisha Kerby, Jr., church clerk at Providence for years until his death in 1881. Elder Wakefield's wife, Anjaline, is buried in the Kerby Cemetery on Rea Ridge in Estill County. Her tombstone has the following inscription:

Wife of Eld. E. Wakefield
Born August 12, 1808
Died August 4, 1868

     Elder Enoch Wakefield was born in New York in 1807, died in Georgia February 1877 at the age of seventy and was buried at Frankfort, Kentucky.


     Elder Napoleon Bonaparte Johnson was a descendant from one of the distinguished families in Kentucky. His grandfather was a brother to the famous pioneer, Colonel Robert Johnson, of Scott County; his father was first cousin to Richard M. Johnson, Vice-President of the United States, 1837-1841, and credited with killing the Shawnee Indian Chief, Tecumsch. His father was also a first cousin to James and John G. Johnson, both of which were members of Congress.
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     N. B. Johnson was born in Fayette County, Kentucky, March 5, 1816. His parents being of reduced circumstances, he received only a common school education. In early life he joined the "Campbellites" and was immersed for the remission of sins. He became a skillful mechanic; but, alas, he also became a drunkard and spent a number of years in wasteful diversion. On October 28, 1846, he married Edith Martin of Clark County and continued to divide his time between drunkness [sic] and labor until about 1858 when he was convicted by the Holy Spirit and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

     Elder N. B. Johnson was baptized and entered into the constitution of Waco Baptist Church, near where he lived, in Madison County. He was ordained into the ministry October 25, 1862, by Thornton I. Wills, Nathan Edmonson and J. J. Edwards. In October 1866 he accepted the appointment of missionary by the General Association of Kentucky Baptist and he served in the bounds of the Irvine Association for fourteen years. His report for eleven of those years shows he traveled 19,096 miles over his mountainous field, preached 2,603 sermons, delivered 1,137 exhortations, made 1,323 religious visits, witnessed 1,109 additions to the churches, baptized 861 persons in eight years, organized 112 Sunday Schools, constituted (with help) ten churches, and distributed large quantities of religious literature.

     Brother Johnson labored on the same field in the Irvine Association with J. J. Edwards. He served as moderator of Irvine Association during the years of 1873, 1874, 1875, 1878, 1879, and 1880. His labors proved most valuable because of his ability as an excellent organizer and disciplinarian and had much to do with the great success and growth of Irvine Association during that period.

     In 1879, N. B. Johnson left the missionary field because of failing health and devoted the brief remainder of his life to the duties of the pastoral office. He served churches at Crab Orchard in Lincoln County, Waco and Drowning Creek (Panola) in Madison County, Cow Creek and Providence in Estill County, and many others. He proved to be a good pastor.

     The following letter was found in an old house near Waco, Kentucky, by Mr. and Mrs. Mike Rose and it was published in a special edition of the Citizen Voice and Times, Saturday, December 4, 1976. Not only does the sketch of Bro. Johnson's trip into the mountains give some insight into his work as a missionary in Irvine Association, but it also reveals some of his wit and sense of humor. It might be interesting to note Bro. Woolfolk, to whom he refers, is Elder Lucian B. Woolfolk who had been called as pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Kentucky, in January 1870 and later served as

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pastor of First Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky, 1873-1878. Bro. Darnaby mentioned was probably Elder Edward Darnaby. Also, his reason for going to Booneville to repair machinery to get some money to pay his way to Louisville the first of May was his having been chosen as one of nine delegates from Irvine Association to attend the General Association of Kentucky Baptist to convene in Louisville in May.

Waco, Kentucky
April 4, 1870

Mrs. Lizzie Alberta
Dear Sister in Christ:
     This beautiful morning finds me at home again in the middle of my dear family, and through the blessings of Our Father, we are all enjoying good health. I arrived home on last evening about sundown having rode from Cow Creek after meeting. I have been absent from home three weeks anJ four days laboring in the cause of my blessed Savior in the counties of Estill, Wolfe, and Breathitt. I can truly say that the good Lord has owned and blessed His truth though delivered through a weak servant.

     I have been permitted to pass through many scenes since I left home. I did not preach longer than three days at any point. My object was to keep up a sort of running fire, or was acting on the skirmish line all the time. I captured from the army of the devil 22 persons and they, having sworn allegiance to the cause of Christ, are now enlisted in the cause of Christ and marching under the glorious flag of Jesus.

     My object in visiting from church to church and from house to house was to mix with the old anti-brethren and sisters and try to get them right upon the subject of missions and Sunday Schools. I am satisfied that my visit among them has proved a great success, and they are fully satisfied now that a Missionary is not such a huge and dangerous animal as they supposed him to be.

     I had an appointment in a neighborhood through which a show had passed a few days before. So the morning of my meeting, an old lady came and found her two girls fixing for meeting. She said to them, "Where are you going?" They replied, "To meeting." "That you ain't not a foot [fool?]do you go today, for it's my time now, for I never saw one in my life." So she came and was well pleased. She said if that was a sample of a missionary she had no objections to them.

     I found the brethren and sisters everywhere willing to receive the truth as it is Christ Jesus. But they have been guiled by ignorant men and those that would be leaders but where God's truth is presented, prejudice and ignorance give way.

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I will now give you a short sketch of my trip:

     I left home on Thursday after the first Saturday in March, and reached old Bro. Lowery's six miles above Furnace on Friday. I reached Bro. L. Drake's in Wolfe County where I held a few days meeting and left six approved for baptism. Then I crossed the North Fork of the Kentucky River, (here I had to swim my horse, but I didn't mind that for you know we Baptist believe in going down into the water) and preached at Bro. C. Lutes at night to a very large congregation.

     Next morning in company with several brethren and sisters I crossed the Middle Fork and preached Saturday and Sunday. I then, in company with Judge Strong and Mr. Bailey, a young lawyer, went up within four miles of Jackson, the county seat of Breathitt, and preached there three days and nights. It being Quarterly Court, Judge Strong kindly gave me the Courthouse every day at 11 o'clock. I had a large crowd day and night and good attention. It was remarked by many that I had larger congregations and better attention than any man that had ever preached there. They urged me to visit them again as often as possible. There is no church of any kind in the town.

     From here, I passed up ten miles to a church at Quick Sand, and preached, two days. From here I passed over on Bloody Creek and then to White Oak and preached at Union Church which I constituted in January. She has received 17 additions since being organized. From here, I passed over Upper Devil s Creek and preached at Mr. William Drakes's at night. Next I passed over on lower Devil's Creek and preached at Booth's Mill. The next day, Thursday, I laid up at Bro. Drake's, it being too disagreeable to travel. Friday, I had to start home, rain or shine, so I set out for home and had to cross Devil's Creek, Walker's Creek, and Hell Creek and I reached Bro. William Barnes' on Cow Creek, Friday, about 5 o'clock; I preached at Cow Creek Saturday and Sunday.

     The people in the mountains are well pleased with the prospect of our Sunday School celebration. I am fully satisfied my dear sister that Bro. Little's glorious week well proved a grand success and is the means in the hand of God of leading many souls to Christ.

     I sent to Waco today and the box you sent had not come to hand yet. Sister Lizzie, I captured by consent of owner while in the mountains two very nice venison hams. I shall send you one of them by the stage in a day or two and I want you and Sister McCann to meet at the half way house (Sister Darnaby's) and have it cooked to suit your taste. Try and met on the same day that will suit Bro. Koolfolk. I think if he could get a mess or two of vension he would be fully able to demolish Campbellism completely and for the sake of manners don't forget Bros. Alberta, Darnaby and Buckner.

     And now Sister Lizzie, I know you are a woman of sense and judgment, but I think something you like is discretion. Be sure when you are eating the venison to remember the sassafras tea and beef steak. A hint to the wise is sufficient.

     Click here for [P. 107]

[From Bobby L. Rose & Lorene Barnes Rose, History of Providence Baptist Church, Estill County, Winston, Kentucky 1856-1978. This is chapter 5. Copied at the Estill County Public Library, Irvine, KY. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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